How to Live to 100 and Stay Healthy: The Science of Longevity

Human life expectancy has been steadily increasing around the world over the past century and a half. In fact, average life expectancy has risen by almost 20 years since 1950.

Currently, average life expectancy in the United States is 79 years old, but what if you could live healthily to 95 or beyond? This article will examine the keys to longevity and how you can extend your healthspan – the portion of your life spent free of major illness or disability.

The Aging Process and How to Slow It Down

We all age, but the rate at which we age can vary dramatically based on lifestyle factors. Outward signs of aging include fatigue, graying hair, wrinkles, aches and pains, muscle loss, and conditions like hearing loss. Often, people report these symptoms to their doctor and are simply told it’s “normal aging”.

However, a more proactive, preventative approach focused on optimizing health and longevity is preferable. This involves addressing concerning symptoms early, regularly checking important lab markers, and providing personalized diet and lifestyle recommendations based on the test results.

Key Lab Markers for Longevity

There are certain key lab biomarkers that provide insight into the aging process and longevity potential. These include:

  • Vitamin D – This “longevity hormone” should be optimized to a level between 60-80 ng/mL.
  • Fasting glucose, insulin, and HbA1c – These measure blood sugar control over the past 3 months. Lower, more optimal levels are associated with longevity.
  • HS-CRP – High sensitivity C-reactive protein tracks inflammation in the body. Lower is better for longevity.
  • Homocysteine – An inflammation marker that reflects methylation and detoxification processes. Ideal level is around 6 ?mol/L.
  • Lipid panel – Cholesterol levels and liver enzymes convey metabolic health. Abnormalities can accelerate aging.

Checking these lab markers regularly allows for a personalized, proactive approach to preserving health and vitality over time.

The Science of Aging: Genomic Instability, Epigenetics, and Cellular Senescence

Aging is a complex, multifactorial process that involves changes at the genetic, epigenetic, and cellular levels. Here is an overview of some of the key biological hallmarks of aging:

Genomic Instability

As we age, our DNA sustains cumulative damage from sources like:

  • Free radicals
  • Radiation
  • Environmental toxins
  • Certain medications
  • Emotional stress

This can lead to genomic instability, which accelerates aging.

Telomere Shortening

Telomeres are protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that shorten with age. Shorter telomeres leave DNA more vulnerable to damage.

Epigenetic Alterations

Epigenetics control whether certain genes are “switched on” or not. As we get older, epigenetic errors accumulate, leading to improper gene expression patterns.

Cellular Senescence

Over time, more and more cells become “senescent” – essentially entering a zombie-like state where they stop dividing but won’t die. These senescent cells promote harmful inflammation.

Stem Cell Exhaustion

Stem cells help regenerate tissues, so declining stem cell populations impairs the body’s ability to heal damage with age.

Mitochondrial Dysfunction

Mitochondria generate energy for cells, but their function declines with age, reducing cellular energy production.

Key Longevity Pathways: Sirtuins, AMPK, and mTOR

There are certain cellular signaling pathways that heavily influence the aging process and longevity. Optimizing these pathways is key to staying youthful.


Sirtuins are enzymes that help activate longevity genes. They require adequate levels of NAD+, which declines with age, reducing sirtuin activity.


AMPK is the master switch regulating metabolism and promotes longevity. Activating AMPK improves insulin sensitivity and metabolism.


mTOR drives cell growth but also suppresses longevity genes. Too much mTOR acceleration aging, so limiting mTOR is important.

Diet, Exercise, and Lifestyle Tips to Slow Aging

Our lifestyle choices have a profound impact on how quickly we age. Here are practical tips to preserve health and vitality:


  • Eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods
  • Choose organic when possible
  • Eat a rainbow of fruits/veggies for antioxidants
  • Use extra virgin olive oil
  • Limit meat/animal protein
  • Avoid refined sugar, flour, fried foods
  • Practice mindful, slower eating

There is no single perfect diet. Paleo, Mediterranean, keto, and vegetarian diets tend to support longevity when done properly.

Intermittent Fasting

Fasting powerfully activates longevity genes and cellular repair processes like autophagy. Try the 16:8 diet or fast for 12-16 hours per day.


Aim for moderate intensity exercise (70-85% max heart rate) for at least 10-20 minutes daily. This could add years to your life.


Exposing your body briefly to stressors like heat or cold triggers beneficial adaptive responses that bolster longevity.

Key Supplements

  • Vitamin D3
  • B complex
  • Omega-3s
  • Magnesium
  • Antioxidants like vitamin C, glutathione, CoQ10
  • Berberine

Optimize Sleep

Prioritize 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night to support circadian rhythms and longevity.

Minimize Toxins

Avoid tobacco, excess radiation, pesticides, pcbs, and food additives/processed foods.

Cultivate Relationships

Having strong social ties and a sense of purpose boosts longevity.

The Promise of Longevity Research

Cutting-edge longevity research brings hope that we may continue extending healthspans in the future.

Identifying Longevity Genes

The Human Genome Project found no specific “aging genes”, suggesting aging is malleable based on environment and lifestyle.

Stem Cell Rejuvenation

In 2006, Dr. Shinya Yamanaka discovered four genes that can convert adult cells into pluripotent stem cells, potentially reversing aging.

New drugs are being developed to target senescent “zombie cells” to prevent inflammation and diseases of aging.

Healthy Centenarians

People living over 100 years in longevity “Blue Zones” demonstrate that extreme longevity is possible while staying active and mentally sharp.

While we still have more to learn, it’s clear that applying what we currently know about diet, exercise, stress reduction, fasting, and other lifestyle factors can help extend our healthspans and potentially add years to life. The future of longevity research looks bright.

Conclusion: It’s Never Too Early or Late to Optimize Health

Aging is inevitable, but its pace and our health in later decades are modifiable based on the lifestyle choices we make every day. It’s never too early or too late to take proactive steps to slow aging and extend your years of healthy living by:

  • Eating a whole foods diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Managing stress
  • Fasting periodically
  • Optimizing key lab markers
  • Establishing social connections
  • Considering supplements that activate longevity pathways
  • Staying abreast of emerging longevity science

How gracefully we age is not fixed – it’s under our control. Take charge of your health destiny by applying an anti-aging lifestyle today.

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